Two years after Apple first ditched the fingerprint scanner for Face ID with the iPhone X in 2017, Google is following suit. The company today confirmed in a blog post that its upcoming Pixel 4 will feature face unlock and Motion Sense.
For Face Unlock, Google is relying on Soli — a motion-sensing radar. The top bezel of the Pixel 4 series will house the Face unlock IR camera, a Soli radar chip, Dot projector, flood illuminator, and IR camera. Apple also uses a number of similar components for Face ID.
All face unlock related data will be stored locally on the Pixel 4 inside the Titan M security chip for the best possible privacy and security.
Google does note that face unlock on the Pixel 4 will work in “almost any orientation” — even upside down! It will be interesting to see how Google’s face unlock implementation using Soli will be superior to Apple’s Face ID system which relies on the TrueDepth camera system.
Google will also be using the motion-sensing capabilities of the Soli chip to offer Motion Sense on the Pixel 4 series.
Motion Sense will allow users to skip songs, snooze alarms, silence phone calls and more by simply waving their hands in front of the phone. Google promises that Motion Sense will improve over time. A catch with Motion Sense is that it will only be available in select countries at launch.
Apple has a lead when it comes to implementing face unlock on its devices. However, Face ID has only received speed improvements since launch and no other meaningful improvements. The company did add landscape orientation support to Face ID with the 2018 iPad Pro but did not bring the feature to its iPhone lineup.
On paper, Google’s face unlock implementation on the Pixel 4 is very similar to Face ID. The Soli chip, however, can be an interesting addition and it remains to be seen just how much of a difference it would make.